Archive

movies

The beginning of the year is a very busy time for many companies, which means they’re getting my freelance work together. This left me with much more freetime than I’m used to last week. So what did I do with this time Painted my nails twice, did my laundry, cooked, hit the gym, slept (8 hours every night.. it was a miracle) AND watched four seasons of three shows Netflix recommended for me. Since I haven’t done a movie post in awhile, I thought I’d do reviews of these three shows: Portlandia, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and The League.


Portlandia
This show is produced by Lorne Michaels, so if you don’t like SNL type humor, move on to the other shows. The first season was hilarious, mostly because I visited Portland, OR every summer as a kid and teenager. My dad likes to call people here “granola people.” While I’m now a vegetarian, and some might call me a “hippie” of sorts due to my brief work in grassroots fundraising, I still find this show to be hilarious. However, if you haven’t been to Portland, or known people from there, you may not find it as funny. For that reason, it’s not really a show you can watch with a big group of people, since you may be laughing alone (but you’ll be laughing very hard).


The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
If you mixed the UK humor of The Office and Arrested Development, you’ve got this show in a nutshell. If you didn’t like these shows, again, move on to the next show. This is about a man who’s transplanted to the UK to sell the toxic energy drink Thunder Muscle. In an effort to be cool and successful, and completely ruins his life in the process. It’s hilarious (if you like the aforementioned humor) so give it a try.

Finally, my new favorite show: THE LEAGUE
Okay, I am a HUGE Fantasy Football junkie. I won my first year, and have sucked ever since. It’s something I look forward to every year, and have always wanted a hardcore group of people like this posse to play with. The League is like my Fantasy League. The characters are hilarious, the situations are continuous, believable and laugh-out-loud funny (I rarely laugh out loud, and I rarely shut up when this show is on). I can’t recommend it highly enough. If I had to categorize/characterize it, I’d say it’s Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Friends. Men and women alike, or all interests will find something in this show to love. This was the show that I watched two seasons of in two days (admittedly, I finished the second season just in time for NFL playoff games to begin). Find a way to watch this amazing show!

I’ve always said, if I didn’t believe in God, I’d believe in Hunter S. Thompson. He’s easily one of the greatest wrtiers of all time; with his wreckless abandon in what he says, but the beyond artful way that he chooses his words. I find it remarkable when a person can say so much in just two or three words.

Johnny Depp acted in HST’s first, and only movie, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While he was at HST’s home, researching for his role, he found the manuscript for The Rum Diary. HST had written it early in his 20s and forgotten about it. The book was published that year.

Now, seven years after HST passed away, Depp has finally finished and premiered his “baby.” Since I love HST I had to see the movie its first night out (something I rarely do).

It was great. Really great! The end dragged a bit, because the screenwriter, Bruce Robinson (of The Killing Fields notoriety) chose to write it as a story after the novel ended. As a loyal HST fan, the place where he stopped and Robinson began was apparent to me. HST had a way of ending his near-ridiculous stories right when they were becoming unbelievable, or just too much debauchery.

I highly recommend this movie. Once again, Depp does a phenomenal job of capturing HST and his characters, the way he wrote them. Again, it drags a bit at the end, but overall, it’s worth your $16. Easy.

Best line: “It smells like bastards. It smells like truth. I smell ink.”

I’ve been slacking on the movie reviews, but plan to make up for it. When I opened up my Netflix queue today, it told me that I have five movies that are about to leave instant play on 11/1, which means I had a lot of watching to do.

Infamy” was in my top five, where it had been for over a year. I love graffiti art and bombing but had never felt the need to watch it. Well, time was of the essence so I clicked “Play.”

“Infamy” follows six different artists from LA to Philly to NYC and shows their journey and progression. From the very beginning, you’re sucked in. It’s not your average, semi-interesting documentary. The characters are so funny that they really are characters. One of the most interesting things to see is how each of their personalities is so different and seeing how their families contributed to, or were detrimental, to their art.

Another interesting part is that a lot of this takes place in my neighborhood, and I see these pieces all the time, but I never knew about the people behind it. I’ve also seen the sign on the freeway for the “Graffiti Guerrilla” who spends all his free time taking down and painting over tagging.

I’ve always been so enthralled with graffiti art. Think about it, artists spend months and years working on one piece of art. These people have a very limited amount of time to finish their art, or risk arrest (which they all talk about). In college, I did several photography projects on graffiti and how underappreciated it is. The irony of those projects was that I was attempting to make art by exploiting the art of others. I never did another project based on graffiti after my friend, a graffiti artist, pointed that out to me.

If this thematic content interests you, or you like seeing the human part of the graffiti you see all over your city, then watch this. And I have GOOD NEWS for you! Since I love my blog readers, and since Netflix is getting rid of this film in a few days, I’ve found a website where you can watch the entire documentary for free! Click HERE to go there.

There are thematic elements that make this not okay for kids (language) but other than that, it’s all about the art. Enjoy!

On Wednesday night I got the opportunity to pre-screen the movie “50/50” starring Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Here’s the trailer for it:

At first, the premise sounded iffy to me. I lost my grandpa to cancer so I wasn’t stoked about spending 2 hours watching someone’s struggle. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The screenplay was beautifully written (which is extremely important to a fellow screenwriter like me) and the story was multi-dimensional. Also, the acting all the away around was great. You know how sometimes there’s one person who’s not really convincing? Well, that’s not the case with this film.

It is not a comedy, and I wouldn’t even call it a dramedy, it’s a drama. You will laugh, really hard at parts, which is essential due to the nature of the story. If you enjoy dramas, with a little laughter thrown in, then I highly recommend this film. I’m antsy and impatient, but I was fully engaged the whole time.

The other night I watched Tootsie, starring Dustin Hoffman and was quite surprised. I had no idea what it was about, but we had read about it in virtually every film class I’ve taken, so I figured it was about time that I rent it.

First of all, Hoffman makes a very convincing woman (either that, or I’ve lived in West Hollywood for too long). The funniest parts are when he legitimately thinks he’s a woman. It reminded me of the Family Guy episode when Peter actually thinks he’s a woman after attending a women’s retreat.

Second, the acting was great, from everyone. Those are situations that people rarely, if ever find themselves in. This means that they really have to act, and everyone did a great job. Hoffman is one of my favorite actors, ever since “The Graduate.” He’s always hilarious. this is probably why I kept thinking about “Mrs. Doubtfire” the whole time I was watching the movie. They are extremely similar in many ways, but the story lines couldn’t be more different.

The movie was a little long, but it was made before America’s attention span began waning so that’s understandable. It was really good, but wasn’t one of my personal favorites. I’d give it a 4/5 overall.

Being a film major, I figured I’m wasting my wealth of expensive knowledge by not doing movie reviews on here. So, at least once a week I’ll start reviewing a movie that I watched. Deal?

This week I watched “Glory.” I got it by accident; the kind of accident that happens when you neglect your Netflix cue. I’m trying to watch as much as I can on Netflix until September when rates go up. I digress.

This film was released two years after I was born, in 1989. It stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. My dad had been telling me this movie was great for years, but I always put off watching it. There’s just too many new movies for me to watch a war movie from the 80s when special effects were so, well, 80s. But once again, Dad was right and I was wrong.

During the course of the film it quickly climbed the ladder of my favorites for several reasons: one is that I’m a HUGE history buff. I’m also incredibly patriotic, almost to absurdity. The final reason is I’ve always had a particular interest in race relations within our country, which obviously dates back to the beginning, including the Civil War.

A few things about the film that made it great were the lack of gore and closeness with the characters. While there were only a handful of characters, they were extremely well-drawn and really gave you a connection to them. The gore was believable, but minimal. Remember when “Saving Private Ryan” came out and people were puking within the first ten minutes? Well, all that was thankfully missing. A man’s head does get blown to pieces within the first few minutes, but such is war. The final thing that made this a new favorite of mine was
(SPOILER ALERT)

that they didn’t win. I don’t like when the good guys always win. It’s inauthentic. There was no way that troop of men, fighting a steep uphill battle was going to win. When the confederate flag was flown at the end I was saddened, but had a feeling that was how it would end, and it did. The good news is that in the end, the union won, and we now have the free United States of America.

I highly recommend this movie if you (a) like war movies (b) like movies that deal with the character of people and the development of them as well (c) like seeing the little man win (d) can handle, or enjoy, not-so-happy endings (e) want to see a good, serious film that makes you think “What would I have done in that situation?”

I give it a 4.5/5 (the special effects held it back from being perfect).